Why Roma so desperately need Claudio Ranieri's 'Dilly Ding, Dilly Dong' approach

Chloe Beresford by Chloe Beresford / 12 March 2019, 14:10

Following a humiliating 3-0 Derby della Capitale defeat to cross-city rivals Lazio and an exit from Europe at the hands of Porto, time was up at AS Roma for Eusebio Di Francesco.

As the club announced the news last Thursday, it seemed like a lifetime ago since the Giallorossi had appointed the former Sassuolo boss in June 2017, and indeed since he took the club to the Champions League semi-final just under a year later.

Yet the summer following those exploits had seen major changes at the club as sporting director Monchi replaced the supremely talented Alisson with Swedish stopper Robin Olsen, in addition to a major overhaul in midfield.

That his moves in the transfer market turned out to be such spectacular failures also saw the Spaniard leave the club last week following a period of major turmoil for Roma. The signings had been poor, and Di Francesco had shown major incompetence in failing to be able to work with what he had.

An extremely negative atmosphere has blighted this club for almost a year, but the American owners had an idea of how to reverse it. They had stumbled upon across a piece of good fortune after Claudio Ranieri was sacked from Fulham, as suddenly the Rome native was readily available.

Here is a man well-versed in the power of positivity, one who knows all-too-well how heavily the weight of poor results can press down on an entire city.

As well as having been born in Italy’s capital, Ranieri has spent time at the club both as a player and a coach in the past, having won 45 from 80 matches in charge during his first stint in charge at the club.

 

The 2009/10 season saw the Giallorossi finish second in the league and reach the Coppa Italia final. These are two feats which would have been most welcome this season, if it hadn’t been for a 7-1 defeat to Fiorentina in the latter competition and sitting a huge 13 points away from the second-place spot currently occupied by Napoli.

“I continue doing this profession because it gives me strong emotions and my return to Roma is something special, especially for us Roman fans,” admitted Ranieri in his introductory press conference, recognising how vital it is to having the passionate supporters onside.

“We are aware it’s a difficult moment for the club, but I am ready and I’m here to do battle.

“Motivation is the most important thing right now, as I can see the Champions League is so close, but I can’t do it on my own.

"It’ll be very important for the fans to be close to these lads, especially in the first couple of games, as with them behind us, anything can happen.”

Those words so clearly showed what an asset the 67-year-old – who signed a deal to the end of the season with the option for a one-year extension – will be for this club during the final 11 games of the campaign.

Like so many clubs with large operating costs, Champions League qualification is an absolute must, but Di Francesco was dragging the side down with his excuses and eagerness to try and avoid the blame.

A 2-1 win over Empoli in his first game in charge on Monday evening was certainly a good start, and he will now have to figure out how best to break down a stubborn SPAL side on Saturday, followed by a tough clash with Napoli the following week.

Ranieri is best remembered in England for his “dilly ding, dilly dong” approach, and this is exactly what Roma need right now. A plain speaking and unerringly positive man who can certainly turn their season around.

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